unique wedding welcome dinner ideas bride and groom on a pontoon boat

Unique Wedding Welcome Dinner Ideas

A welcome dinner, or rehearsal dinner as it’s sometimes referred to, is a great way to spend more time with your closest friends and family during the week of your wedding. But what can you do to make your welcome dinner more memorable (other than having great food, of course)? Read on for our top unique wedding welcome dinner ideas.


If you have a lot of friends and family coming in from out of town for your wedding, it very well might be their first introduction to the area. Why not pick a venue that specializes in great local cuisine, or has an iconic scenic view, or shows off something unique to the area.

Just one example from a recent wedding of ours was Carrie and Conrad, who hosted their welcome dinner at the small theater that they own together in downtown Crested Butte, Colorado. They served local food and drinks and screened three different films for their guests to choose from, all right within the confines of the place that’s so close to their hearts.

unique wedding welcome dinner ideas wedding guests eating dinner
unique wedding welcome dinner ideas wedding guests eating popcorn
unique wedding welcome dinner ideas wedding guests watching a movie
bride and groom portrait in front of movie theater marquee


One of our favorite things about weddings is how they bring different people from all walks of the couple’s life together in one place. But this also means that a lot of your guests will likely be meeting each other for the first time at your welcome dinner. Offering some sort of activity can act as an ice breaker and can help facilitate the socialization.

Just a few examples we’ve seen that have worked well are bowling, ping pong, billiards, corn hole, arcade games, a scavenger hunt and a personalized crossword puzzle with clues about the couple.

wedding guest playing billiards with friends
wedding guests playing giant Jenga during cocktail hour
wedding guests playing crossword puzzle during cocktail hour


A lot of couples have a theme for their wedding, but you can do this for your welcome dinner as well.

One of the more popular themes here in Colorado is skiing, especially in the winter. Couples encourage guests to wear ski gear, hand out lift ticket name tags and set up ski resort-themed centerpieces. Another popular theme here could be described “western,” especially at our many ranch-style wedding venues.

But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to what’s popular in the area. Jen and Ross had a nautical theme for their welcome dinner in Grand Lake last year and took their friends and family on a pontoon-boat tour of the lake before dinner.

bride and groom riding on a pontoon boat
unique wedding welcome dinner ideas wedding guests on a pontoon boat
unique wedding welcome dinner ideas bride and groom on a pontoon boat
unique wedding welcome dinner ideas wedding guests eating dinner


This can be especially helpful if you want to limit the number of toasts given on your wedding day so that you can get more party time in. For example, if all four of your parents want to give toasts, but they’ve been known to be a bit long-winded, asking them to speak during the welcome dinner is a great compromise.

unique wedding welcome dinner ideas father of the bride toast
unique wedding welcome dinner ideas mother of the bride toast


I hesitate to make a list of the “best” welcome dinner locations in Colorado, because there are literally hundreds of amazing spots with delicious food, fun activities and spectacular views to choose from. But if you’re new to the area and you’re just looking for a starting point, you can’t go wrong with any of these fine establishments.

Denver: 1up, Seven Grand, Tarantula Billiards
Boulder: Rayback Collective, The Kitchen Upstairs, Chautauqua Dining Hall
Estes Park: The Barrel, The Post, Bird & Jim
Vail: Donovan Pavilion, The Sonnenalp Club, Chasing Rabbits
Breckenridge: Breck Distillery, Breck Brewery, Brooklyn’s
Colorado Springs: Phantom Canyon Brewing, Garden of the Gods Resort Kissing Camels, The Viewhouse

Thanks for taking the time to read. If you need more unique wedding welcome dinner ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ve been photographing weddings for the better part of two decades and have seen just about everything under the sun!

Interested in getting some cool photos of your own?
Reach out and we’ll brainstorm ideas together.

Similar Posts